South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp has every right to gripe about the coverage of two of his players by The State newspaper.
But that doesn’t mean Monday’s rant against the paper was tenable.
There are a lot of layers to what developed over the past eight days since news broke that Skai Moore, Deebo Samuel and former Gamecocks linebacker Jalen Dread were alleged to have beaten up a 24-year-old man in the Five Points area of Columbia, S.C., one early Saturday morning.
For Moore, Samuel and any of the other 80-plus players on scholarship at South Carolina, the spotlight shines a little brighter on them than John Doe, the junior history major from Greenville.
All of their actions, good, bad or otherwise, are magnified. That, in part, is why websites including www.seccountry.com and www.gogamecocks.com exist, to chronicle every step of the way. Unfortunately, perhaps for all of us, this is the world we live in right now.
Folks want to know what their star linebacker and wide receiver are up to. On occasion, that includes what they did or didn’t do one early Saturday morning in Five Points.
For Moore, Samuel and Dread, just being named on a police incident report is enough to raise any reporter’s eyebrows, no matter where he or she went to college. Then again, the reporter also must know who Moore, Samuel and Dread are.
Let’s be clear. Nothing is wrong with The State’s decision to run the story, based off an incident report, even if it was a singular account from a bartender. If the Columbia Police can share details of an incident with the public, then it sure as heck can be written about in the local newspaper.
With this one in particular, as unfair as some perceive it to be, whether that’s Muschamp or John Q Reader, a 1999 South Carolina graduate who sells insurance in Lexington, it comes with the territory for Moore and Samuel, as long as they’re high-profile football players. Or, in the case of Dread, a former scholarship player in the SEC.
The original story that was published by The State and picked up by seccountry and other outlets across the country didn’t include false information, based on the police department’s incident report. Everything, at least from the perspective of a C-student in media law, seems to check out that way.
Ethically, that’s where the lines start to get blurry.
Payton Douglas, the man who was allegedly attacked by South Carolina football players, is a former Marine, a veteran. While those details about his life are important, they don’t seem to be all that pertinent to the alleged incident.
And that’s about where Muschamp, John Q Reader and the players have a right to step in and complain about the paper’s coverage.
A story about football players attacking a former Marine spices up an already…